“Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt,…
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.”
This teaching by Joshua is as current in 2011 globally as it was in one geographic area centuries earlier. The parallels are for us to reflect—who are the gods in our lives? While we may think and pay lip service to our serving the true Lord, do I? Do you?
At a recent Mass, the deacon spoke of the ‘god’ of electronic tools and the need for instant connection, which may or may not be quality communication. He related example after example of individuals being physically together, reading/scanning/responding on their electronic tools, but not being ‘present,’ attentive, or mindful of the individuals with whom they are with. Are electronic tools and the ‘need’ for instant connection 21stcentury gods?
Concern about addictions have historically been written about as other gods in people’s lives. The list can be quite exhaustive, i.e., alcohol and substance abuse, food, work, running, sex, credit card usage, shopping, etc. One could analyze a U.S. cultural trait of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ as a god.
Gods can show up in other behavior patterns and practices, i.e., a need to be judgmental, a propensity to denigrate others, a non-openness to learning and valuing several perspectives, and practice of any of the ‘isms.’ Does one have the god of needing to have the last word in a discussion, the god of not truly listening, or the god of impatience?
When identifying the above as 21st century gods that attract us, I am reminded of the current relevance of Joshua’s words—“Now, therefore, put away the strange gods that are among you and turn your hearts to the LORD…”